Archive for the ‘Human Resources Management’ Category

Connecting with Peers Encourages Professional Growth

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

CAI’s Peer Learning Recruiter, Jennifer Montalvo, shares the many benefits of collaborative learning in today’s post.

Jennifer Montalvo, Peer Learning Recruiter

Jennifer Montalvo, Peer Learning Recruiter

Whatever the phrase you choose: Masterminds, Power Circles or Peer Learning Groups, professionals are realizing that joining forces with others increases their ability to attain their goals.

According to Mia Taylor’s recent article on MainStreet.com,  Why Women Entrepreneurs Love New “Power Circles” Concept, where you meet, whether in a traditional group setting or virtually through an online community, is not as relevant as the genuine support that you receive as a participant. Members of these circles find power through the following:

FACILITATION & SCHEDULED MEETINGS:   Having set times to meet and a facilitator to drive conversations forward while seeking resolutions allows members to really get to know and trust one another.  This also creates an environment of safety and encouragement to step out of his or her comfort zone and engage in deep reflection.

AUTHENTICITY & STRENGTH:  There is power in joining forces and finding support with other peers.  When relationships are formed and trust is present, members are encouraged to dig deep, find their vision and pave a path to accomplish their goals.  Conversations become authentic rather than superficial.   They are able to draw from the strengths and experiences of others and solve problems.

CONFIDENCE & CLARITY:  Members are continuously reaping the rewards of these groups with increased knowledge and understanding of their field as well as the insight into “what comes next” in their professional path.  Members have been known to walk away from meetings stating they have never been so inspired due to the perspective and experience of others. 

Relationships are the currency in this economy of professional peers.  The value they find lies in each individual who is committed to contribute on a reoccurring basis.  In the end, members who may have been alone or isolated in their workplace are able to build partnerships, collaborate and strengthen alliances due to the power of their circle of peers.

If you would like more information regarding Peer Learning Groups offered here at CAI, please contact Jennifer Montalvo at 919-431-6093 or Jennifer.Montalvo@capital.org. If you are interested in learning  about CAI’s online community myCAI, please contact Jamie Roberts, CAI’s Virtual Peer Community Leader, at Jamie.Roberts@capital.org.

9 Steps to Elevate Your Employer Brand

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

recruitingBersin by Deloitte’s “Predictions for 2015: Redesigning the Organization for a Rapidly Changing World” included this important guidance:

Invest, refocus and redesign talent acquisition — leveraging network recruiting, brand reach and new technologies. In addition to marketing their organization and career opportunities, organizations should also market their mission, purpose, leadership team and work experience. Millennials and high performers look at all of these factors in an employer today.

The ten predictions from Bersin by Deloitte for 2015 cover topics from employee engagement to culture to new HR technologies and more. According to the report, the big overall trend for this year is that companies will have to re-engineer the way they do HR. What makes the prediction above so important is that last line, specifically the reference to high performers.

We are now in a job market where high performers can choose whichever company they want to contribute their talent and knowledge.  They can also much more easily walk away from a company that they feel is not allowing them to be as successful as they could be, or that they don’t believe in.

And these high performers are critical.  How critical?  A study by Ernest O’Boyle and Herman Aguinis published in 2012 found that a high performer can deliver 400% more productivity than the average performer.  400%!!

So if your top performers, or 4Xers, and the 4Xers you’d like to recruit to your organization, are paying extra close attention to your mission, purpose, leadership team and employer brand, you want to make sure that you’ve put the time in to develop those key items in a way that will attract and retain that top talent.

How can you go about doing that?  Here’s a suggested approach:

  1. Watch Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” TED Talk video. Now, how can you apply that to your organization?
  2. Take a look at your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). If you’ve got it documented, great. If not, document it. What makes your organization a special place for employees to work? What differentiates you as an employer from those other companies that you compete with for employees?
  3. Evaluate your EVP. Is it what you want it to be? What will you need to do to continue to attract and retain 4Xers over the next two to three years? If you are where you need to be, great, continue on. If not, how can you get there?
  4. Use that EVP in your discussions with candidates and employees. Make sure your executives and managers use it. And most importantly, make sure you deliver it to employees. Nothing can be worse than saying one thing and doing another.
  5. Develop your core “talent” messaging by choosing three to five key points of your EVP to highlight. What are the things that matter most to your audience? Not sure what they are? Ask your best employees.
  6. Determine the demographics of your target audience (4Xers) and how to reach them. Social media? Websites/blogs? Trade publications? Newspapers?
  7. Establish your presence in those areas and start your messaging. Maximize your social media presence on whatever channel(s) your target audience loves. Learn how best to use these mediums so that you are not just blasting “advertising” at your audience.
  8. Highlight employees. Ask your best employees to shoot a video or offer a statement about what working for your organization means to them. Recognize your employees for accomplishments or for extra effort. Encourage them to share with family, friends and networked connections.
  9. Evaluate your progress. What’s working and what’s not? Keep and expand on the things that are working. Get rid of the things that are not (once you’ve given them a sufficient amount of time – roughly six months). Add something new that you think may have an impact. Then start over at whatever point in the process that makes sense for you.

Please consider these nine steps as a template to get you started and build on them.  You want to begin this process sooner and not wait until later.  Don’t wait to get it perfect.  Start influencing your future 4Xers now and step up your efforts to keep the ones you’ve got.

Questions?  At CAI we can walk you through this and most other employer challenges.  Feel free to contact me at martin.morgan@capital.org or 919-878-9222.

Quick Tips for the Social Media Newcomers

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

employer and social mediaIn the past 5-10 years, social media platforms have taken the Internet by storm. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and countless other social platforms are used by businesses and organizations for marketing, recruiting, thought leadership and overall brand awareness. With the vast variety of social media platforms and uses, it can be a challenge to know everything about social media and how it can fit in with your company’s goals.

For those businesses that have just started out in the social media world, here are a few tips to help you start your social media use.

 

Target Your Desired Audience

Like other types of marketing and communication tools, audience targeting is extremely important on social media.  Building your audience is extremely important, but you also need to target your audience so you can reach your customers, investors, employees and surrounding community. Make a note of who likes your Facebook page and follows you on Twitter instead of just setting a target number. That way you can reach a large audience that will actually want to engage with your business.

 

Connect With Your Audience

Once you have targeted your desired audience, it is time to connect with them. Connecting is important across social platforms and can be done in a variety of ways. It may seem easier to put out content every day or every week and then let people read it, but social media has the capability of generating two-way communication. Take advantage of what it has to offer and message followers on Twitter and Facebook or tweet at someone to engage in conversation. Don’t limit yourself – start a dialogue!

 

Choose the Appropriate Platform(s)

There are numerous platforms, but you may find that only a few work for your company and actually reach your target audience. It is important to focus on the appropriate platforms that your audience is on instead of spreading yourself thin amongst five or more platforms when only two are actually connecting with your audience. For example, Facebook is an extremely popular and valuable platform, but that does not mean it is appropriate for every company. Evaluate multiple social platforms to figure out which ones work best for your company.

 

Engage Employees

While you may only have a few people running your company’s social media pages (or only one!), it is helpful to have employees engage on social media with the business as well. Encourage employees that have social media accounts to share and like content so that you can reach more people. This can help generate credibility and exposure.

 

Social media use is perfected through practice, exposure and research. For more information on social media for businesses go to www.facebook.com/cai.hr.nc or www.twitter.com/caihr.

Photo Source: mkhmarketing

 

When Can I Be Held Personally Liable for Employment Actions?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

CAI’s Advice and Resolution team member Pat Rountree shares valuable information regarding liability for employment actions in today’s post.

Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

Employment laws outline employer responsibilities for compliance under the various regulations. From time to time, the Advice and Resolution team is asked, “Can I be held personally responsible?” The answer is, it depends. It depends on the definition of employer under the regulation and/or the interpretation of that definition by the court if it is ambiguous.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines employer to include any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of the employer in relation to an employee. That definition could include HR Managers and other managers or supervisors who have the authority by the employer to exercise control over the employee’s job. HR Managers and managers who review job classification could be held liable for misclassification of a job as exempt when it should have been non-exempt, resulting in failure to pay overtime.

Individuals who qualify as employers as explained above may also be liable under the Equal Pay Act if they are responsible for paying a male more than a female for the same job unless there are factors to support the differential (more experienced, merit based on documented performance, etc.).

The Family and Medical Leave Act follows the same definition as the FLSA. Supervisors and managers who have authority over an eligible employee can be held responsible for denying FMLA or failing to fulfill other requirements of FMLA. Examples of individual responsibility include failure to designate absences that qualify as FMLA resulting in disciplinary action for absences (train your supervisors), and failure to provide FMLA notices (HR take note).

Other employment laws that can hold individuals personally responsible for violations include:

  • USERRA – failure to hire or taking negative action against a person because of their military service or other actions in violation of the Act
  • Section 1981 Civil Rights Act – discrimination based on race/color (Title VII does not consider individuals as employers; Section 1981 permits individual actions)
  • HIPAA – revealing personally identifying health information
  • ERISA – fiduciary breach of responsibilities under health care plan, retirement or 401(k) plan, or other covered plans
  • Immigration and Reform Act – knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant

Employees can also sue personally responsible individuals under state tort laws for wrongful discharge, or other conduct that violates a duty of care that a supervisor, or manager may have in their role.

While employees may not know that they could sue individuals, plaintiffs’ lawyers do. Where there is individual liability, the opportunity for monetary gain increases as individuals can have the same penalties as employers.

Please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team with questions at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

I Didn’t Come to Work Because I Dreamed I Got Fired

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

work and tardinessNo, this isn’t an April Fools’ joke. An employee actually told his employer that he missed a day of work because he dreamed he got fired. Getting to work can be a challenge, but with added obstacles like life-changing dreams, shower accidents and drunken forgetfulness, the commute can become harder.

A recent survey from CareerBuilder with help from Harris Poll found that participants gave reasons like the ones from above as to why they arrived to work late. More the 2,100 HR managers and more than 3,000 employees in several industries participated in the nationwide survey from November 4 to December 2, 2014.

The survey found that more than one in five employees admitted to being late to work at least once a month and 15 percent of participants said that arriving late to work is a weekly occurrence. Of the employees who admitted to arriving late, 30 percent also admitted to lying about the reason for their tardiness.

Responses from the survey revealed that traffic is the most common factor for tardiness, followed by lack of sleep and bad weather. Not as common, but still culprits of causing tardiness include getting kids ready for school or daycare, public transportation issues and wardrobe malfunctions.

CareerBuilder’s survey also asked employees what was the most outrageous excuse they’d ever given and they shared the following:

  • I knocked myself out in the shower.
  • I was drunk and forgot which Waffle House I parked my car next to.
  • I discovered my spouse was having an affair, so I followed him this morning to find out who he was having an affair with.
  • Someone robbed the gas station I was at, and I didn’t have enough gas to get to another station.
  • I had to wait for the judge to set my bail.
  • There was a stranger sleeping in my car.
  • A deer herd that was moving through town made me late.
  • I’m not late. I was thinking about work on the way in.
  • I dreamed that I got fired.
  • I went out to my car to drive to work, and the trunk had been stolen out of it.

If you receive an excuse similar to the ones above from an employee tomorrow, you may want to wait for them to say “April Fools!” before you start to doubt. You can read more about the survey here.

Photo Source: Tiffany Bridge

Unlocking LinkedIn’s Recruiting Potential

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

HR on Demand Team Member Carolyn Ulrich shares helpful tips for using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool:

linkedin and recruitingAs a recruiter for CAI, social media plays an invaluable role in my career. While we can arguably debate the usefulness of Facebook and Twitter, no one can deny that Linkedin is the holy grail of professional social networks.

Originally launched in May of 2003, Linkedin was created as the professional response to MySpace, gaining only a few new members a day. Within the first 3 years, Linkedin had 20 million users and surpassed MySpace in 2011 with over 33 million. Within the past 4 years, Linkedin has grown to more than 347 million users in over 200 countries and is the largest professional networking site in the world.

By investing a little time and effort into Linkedin, you can take your recruiting efforts to the next level. Here are my top suggestions on how to unleash the full recruiting potential of LinkedIn:

Start with a great profile!

Take the time to invest in a good headline and descriptive summary that helps people understand who you are and what you do. Don’t be afraid to highlight pictures, videos, presentations, skills, recommendations, certifications and clearances that will stand out to others in your profession. This will make you seem more credible and in turn, more approachable.

Expand your Connections!

Don’t be shy about accepting invitations from people you’ve met and even sometimes those that you haven’t. The more connections you have, the more users will be able to see you in their 2nd and 3rd degree network. Make it a point to reach out and connect with people you have heard about or met at events, trainings and conferences. Remember, there’s only 6 degrees of separation!

Post Often!  

Is something interesting happening with your company or in your office? POST IT! Once you have built your network connections make use of all your connections and post content as it relates to you, your profession and your company. Make sure you’re also posting jobs on your page and highlight why you LOVE your company! Never underestimate the power of social media. If you’re always posting about how much you love your job, your connections perceptions of your company will fall in line. Even connections that aren’t actively looking for a new position might be interested so don’t be afraid to put that job in front of them!

Leverage Your Connections!

Send notes to your connections that may be a great fit for your job openings. But make sure you’re not being too aggressive…. No one likes to be sold and you don’t want them to look at your messages like spam. This will keep you current with your connections and is a great FREE marketing tool!

Our recruiting team is dedicated to helping you with all of your recruiting needs. Whether it’s learning more about leveraging Linkedin as a recruiting tool, having us recruit for and fill your vacant positions, or simply answering a few questions, we’re here to help! Please feel free to contact our recruiting team directly at 919- 431-6084 or jill.feldman@capital.org.

Photo Source: Link Humans

 

 

10 HR Practices that Destroy Small Business Productivity – Misguided Meetings

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

In today’s video blog, CAI’s VP of Membership, Doug Blizzard, continues his series on HR practices that destroy productivity.  This month’s focus is misguided meetings, and he starts the video by giving examples of what misguided meetings might look like.

Doug then shares that Salary.com for Business recently surveyed over 3,200 employees, asking them to rank their biggest time wasters at work. The number one reason, with 47 percent of participants agreeing, was attending too many meetings.

Running bad meetings isn’t due to a lack of available resources, Doug says in the video.   There are several books and other learning tools that offer predictable meeting advice. However, meetings with good elements, such as a detailed agenda or clear purpose to solve an issue, can also go south and waste valuable time.

Doug offers insight from business expert Pat Lencioni who argues that most meetings lack drama. The expert suggests putting the more controversial issues at the beginning of the meeting and seeking solutions before moving on to the next topic.

Another reason why meetings are often time consuming is that they lack context and purpose. Doug suggests getting into a rhythm by scheduling reoccurring, tightly-run meetings with your employees. The meetings should happen as scheduled and with specific agendas.  This will help you focus on what’s important and solve problems faster.

So stop letting bad meetings kill productivity at your office.  If you need help around your company’s meeting or communication strategy, please reach out to our Advice and Resolution Team  at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Drugs, Alcohol and the ADA

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Advice and Resolution Team Member John Gupton shares helpful information about the ADA and what the law allows in regard to drugs and alcohol.

John Gupton, General Counsel and HR Advisor

John Gupton, General Counsel and HR Advisor

In general, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits covered employers from discriminating against a “qualified individual with a disability” in regard to job applications, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training, or other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. The ADA requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an “undue hardship” upon the employer.

The ADA specifically allows employers to prohibit the use of alcohol or illegal drugs in the workplace and require that employees not be under the influence. Employers may test for the use of illegal drugs under the ADA. Employers also may maintain and enforce rules prohibiting employees from being under the influence of alcohol in the workplace and may conduct alcohol testing for this purpose if they have a reasonable belief that an employee may be under the influence of alcohol at work.

While current illegal drug users and alcoholics who cannot safely perform their jobs are not protected by the ADA, those who have been rehabilitated or are participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and are not currently using drugs or who are erroneously regarded as engaging in the illegal use of drugs, are covered. Thus, an employer may be required to make reasonable accommodation to recovering alcoholics, for example, by allowing time off to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

For more information about the ADA, go to http://j.mp/dis-d. If you have questions about the ADA, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

5 Employee Engagement Activities for the Spring

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

spring engagement activitiesThe winter months can leave people feeling down and dreary, and these feelings can carry over into the workplace and impact work performance levels. Employees start to need a pick-me-up to increase engagement and motivation. As spring approaches, employers have many opportunities to participate in fun and engaging outings and activities with employees.

Here are 5 spring activities that will increase employee engagement:

1. Plant a company flower garden

This can be a fun way to get your employees outside and working together, while enhancing the appearance of the company grounds. If your office location prevents this, try planting trees in your local community.

2. Volunteer to walk dogs at your local animal shelter

Many local animal shelters are always looking for volunteers to walk the dogs (and cats sometimes), and this could be a great outdoor activity for your employees to do together that would also benefit a good cause.

3. Host a March Madness office potluck lunch

Choose a day when there is a basketball game on and invite employees to come and eat sporting their favorite team’s gear. This allows all employees to get involved even if they do not love basketball, they can come and eat!

4. Attend a local baseball game

For a company of 100+ people, this can be a good activity for employees in a specific department to do together. Whether a local minor team, major league team or college team, this activity will get everyone outdoors and away from all of the stress at the office.

5. Throw a company picnic

Have a picnic at a local park or lake during the nice spring weather and encourage employees to bring their families. This will give employees the opportunity to spend time with their families and colleagues at the same time.

These five activities will bring employees together during the spring while taking advantage of the warm weather and all of the opportunities that the season has to offer. Watch as your employees spirits perk up and their work begins to blossom from these engaging spring activities.

For additional ideas for employee engagement activities, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Woody Hibbard

 

Innovate or Stagnate: Living your Passion

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

The following post is from Peter Metzner. Through seminars and consulting, Peter helps leaders, teams and organizations better engage and align staff to business drivers and their overall mission. He is sharing his presentation Innovate or Stagnate: Leadership Skills for Today at the 2015 HR Management Conference on March 4 and March 5 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.

Business PeopleI once heard at a Symposium that:  “Genius is focused passion”.

To grow, to develop and become the best at your “art” is a meaningful calling or vocation.  Joseph Campbell writes: “Art is the making of things well.  The aim of Art is the perfection of the object”.

He also writes: “if you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss money or not. If you follow money you may lose it and you will have nothing” (J. Campbell Reflections on the Art of Living” p. 39)

Ideally, to successfully innovate; we need to feel passionate about and love what we do. We also need to feel our work – our “art” is beneficial to others.    That is the rocket fuel that can propel us to new heights.

What keeps teams or individuals from performing optimally?

Sadly only 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup.  For many, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in many ways, it’s getting worse.  Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. “Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night”.   (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/opinion/sunday/why-you-hate-work.)

To maintain engagement it is important to have enough rest and renewal to be productive. Over- work, stress and a lack of capacity leads to burnout.  Interpersonal conflict, unaware leadership and not feeling valued or appreciated add to the malaise that cause disengagement, lack of commitment and turnover.

When individuals and teams feel connected to a shared vision and mission that is inspiring and larger than themselves, positive energy and action is released. When relationships are trusting and safe enough to give and receive feedback and engage in constructive conflict; everyone becomes “smarter” than anyone one.  With trust, along with collaborative working relationships; individuals and teams have a greater sense of autonomy, input and buy in to their activities.  Harvard psychologist Kurt Lewin PhD, writes:  “When we are in a supportive environment we are much better equipped to deal with the complexities of our working lives”

As times change; technology advances and new applications and markets will emerge. Yet we need to always keep the timeless qualities that made us successful in the first place. Excitement, energy, common purpose and dedication come from feeling that we are doing what we do best, being challenged to be better in the service of something larger than ourselves.  A real and often forgotten challenge to keeping engagement and passion alive is not only to encourage but to ensure that the work-life balance of staff is maintained.

“When we are completely caught up in something, you become oblivious to the things around you, or to the passage of time.  It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imaginations”.   Rollo May, The Courage to Create

This is the place where synchronicities and “magic” happen.

In addition to innovation through engagement, the 2015 HR Management Conference will feature presentations on making technology choices, insights on the future of work, strengthening organizational performance and more. Visit www.capital.org/hrconf to view the complete agenda and read more about conference speakers. Register today!